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Reporters' Roundtable: Does e-mail get the message?

On the heels of Facebook and AOL's big new e-mail initiatives, join me, OtherInBox's Joshua Baer, and Altimeter's Charlene Li in a talk about the future of this old communications medium.

Recent announcements have shone a spotlight on e-mail: AOL last week announced its new e-mail platform for consumers called Phoenix, and then a day or two later Facebook launched its revamped private messaging service (video link), which will actually give all 500 million users the option to have e-mail addresses.

So e-mail, one of the oldest communications mechanisms on the Internet--it predates the Web itself--is in the news once more. And these new modern e-mail platforms aren't just e-mail. AOL's integrates instant messaging and Twitter. Facebook's product collates SMS and Facebook chat. Traditional e-mail as we know it is changing. Some say it's dying. Research group Gartner, for its part, says 20 percent of workers will use social networks as their primary vehicle for business communications by 2014.

To discuss this today, we have two great experts on the topic.

First, Joshua Baer, CEO of the e-mail helper company OtherInbox. His company makes a very cool little service that will automatically file your commercial messages into subfolders for you, a spin-off and improvement on its original in-box organization product.

And via Skype, we have Charlene Li, founder of the Altimeter Group, a technology advisory firm. Charlene is also author of two books, "Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead" and "Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies."

Now playing: Watch this: Ep. 56: Getting the message on e-mail


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Show notes and talking points

Is e-mail dead?

What's happening in businesses, and how are younger workers changing things?

How important is Facebook Messages. Is it even e-mail? Reading: Charlene's "Facebook Messages challenges traditional email & portals"

Spam and the rise of the "priority inbox."

AOL: Could it have a rebirth?

Why is it so hard to build the universal inbox?

When will voice and e-mail merge?

Handicapping Microsoft vs. Google vs. Yahoo etc.

Imagine e-mail in five years. And just for kicks, will my 4-year-old be using e-mail when he's my age?